Examine How Luther’s Personal Experiences Affected His Ideas for Reform of the Church

1325 Words Dec 22nd, 2012 6 Pages
Martin Luther was born in 1483 in the town of Eisleben. He was born to a middle class family and he wanted to be a lawyer and so he studied law at the University of Erfurt. However, he gets caught in a thunderstorm and he is so terrified that he promised that if he survives the thunderstorm, he would give his life to God. This is because he was terrified, at the time, of God’s wrath and judgement. He then completed his holy orders a year later and became an Augustinian monk.
In 1510, he went on pilgrimage to Rome as many people did at the time. However, whilst he was there, he saw the Pope dressed in golden armour on his way to a battle. He was amazed by this as in his mind, the Pope was not supposed to be as worldly as that. He was also
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Luther, through much contemplation and study of scripture had come to believe in ‘Justification by faith’ (sola fide) and the primacy of scripture (sola scriptura). Luther taught that salvation is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge and opposed sacerdotalism (the belief that sacrifices for sin require the intervention of a priest) by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood. This obviously brought him into conflict with the Church.
Interestingly, Luther didn’t see his 95 Theses as confronting the Church but rather, as scholarly objection to Church practices.
From 1510 to 1520, Luther lectured on the Psalms, the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians. As he studied these portions of the Bible, he came to view the use of terms such as penance and righteousness by the Catholic Church in new ways. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity. The most important for Luther was the doctrine of justification – God's act of declaring a sinner righteous – by faith alone through God's grace. He began to teach that salvation or redemption is a gift of God's grace, attainable only through faith

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